The Reconstruction Convention’s business on January 8, 1869 included consideration of a report concerning the creation of “Peebles County.” The report was recommitted to the Committee on Counties and County Boundaries. (This effort ultimately failed, and the proposed county became Waller County in 1873.) The Convention then received a report from the Committee on Internal Improvements, relating to a proposed “ordinance for the New Orleans, Mobile and Chattanooga Railroad Company.” After some deliberation, consideration of that declaration was postponed to the next week. Then the Convention referred three other proposed declarations, all relating to railroad companies, to the Committee on Internal Improvements.
In apparent frustration that the topics being addressed were not related to the Convention’s main purpose, Mr. Sumner then introduced the following resolution:
Whereas, This Convention has been in session for thirty days since it took a recess last summer, and
Whereas, The reconstruction acts of Congress only provided this body with power to frame a Constitution for the State of Texas; and
Whereas, This body has consumed the last thirty days in legislation, to the exclusion of making a constitution; therefore, be it
Resolved, That we, the people of the State of Texas in Convention assembled, now proceed to frame a constitution and civil government, according to the provisions of the reconstruction acts of Congress, and be it further
Resolved, That no resolution or declaration offered after this date, of a legislative character, shall be entertained until after the constitution shall be completed.
A motion to reject Sumner’s resolution was defeated, with 31 Yeas and 36 Nays. Yet the Convention then refused to suspend the rules to take up the resolution. Mr. Sumner’s point had been made, but it was ineffective to refocus the Convention, which immediately moved on to the business of a resolution “granting mileage to Enrolling Clerk and Sergeant-at-Arms” and the reading of a letter from the acting comptroller before adjourning.